What Happens If I Take Too Many Nurofen Plus: Risks and Consequences

What Happens If I Take Too Many Nurofen Plus: Risks and Consequences

Have you ever wondered what happens if you take too many Nurofen Plus tablets? It’s a crucial question with potentially serious consequences. Nurofen Plus, a combination painkiller containing ibuprofen and codeine, is commonly used to alleviate various types of pain.

However, improper use or overdose can lead to harmful effects on your health. Let’s delve deeper into the risks associated with exceeding the recommended dosage of Nurofen Plus.

How Nurofen Plus Works

Nurofen Plus is a medication that combines two active ingredients: ibuprofen and codeine phosphate. Let’s break down how it works:

  • Ibuprofen: Ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). It functions by blocking an enzyme in the body called cyclo-oxygenase (COX).

    COX is involved in the production of prostaglandins, which cause pain, swelling, and inflammation. By inhibiting COX, ibuprofen reduces the production of these inflammatory prostaglandins, leading to decreased inflammation and pain.

  • Codeine Phosphate: Codeine is a type of painkiller known as an opioid. Although it’s related to morphine, it’s not as potent.

    Opioid painkillers work by mimicking the action of naturally occurring pain-reducing chemicals called endorphins in the brain and spinal cord. Codeine combines with opioid receptors, blocking the transmission of pain signals sent by nerves to the brain. While the underlying cause of pain may persist, less pain is actually felt due to this mechanism.

Nurofen Plus tablets contain 12.8mg of codeine, which, in combination with ibuprofen, effectively relieves mild to moderate pain.

It’s used for short-term relief (up to three days) of various conditions, including headaches, migraines, arthritic pain, soft tissue injuries, nerve pain, toothache, and period pain. Remember that it should only be used if other pain relievers like paracetamol, ibuprofen, or aspirin haven’t provided relief.

Dosage Guidelines:

  • Adults (18 years and over): Take one or two Nurofen Plus tablets up to three times a day as needed. Leave at least four hours between doses, and do not exceed six tablets in 24 hours.
  • Adolescents (12 to 18 years): Take one or two tablets up to three times a day, leaving at least six hours between doses.

    Again, do not exceed six tablets in 24 hours.

Important: Do not take Nurofen Plus for more than three days without consulting your doctor, as prolonged codeine use can lead to addiction and withdrawal symptoms.


  • Codeine can cause drowsiness, although at the dose in Nurofen Plus, this is unlikely. If you feel sleepy or dizzy, avoid driving, operating machinery, and alcohol consumption.
  • Be aware of the 2015 ‘drug driving’ law, which allows police to use roadside drug tests to check for prohibited drugs in a driver’s saliva.

A red and white box of Nurofen Plus tablets, a medication for pain relief.

IMG Source: pharmacyprime.com

Nurofen Plus: Key Points

Nurofen Plus, a combination painkiller containing ibuprofen and codeine, is used to treat various aches and pains, including headaches, back pain, toothaches, and pain from arthritis. Here are some key points about Nurofen Plus:

  • Composition: Each tablet typically contains 200mg of ibuprofen and 12.8mg of codeine. Ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that reduces pain and swelling, while codeine is an opiate that blocks pain signals in the central nervous system.
  • Usage: If everyday painkillers like paracetamol, ibuprofen, or aspirin haven’t worked, Nurofen Plus may be considered.

    However, if your pain persists after 3 days, consult your doctor for advice on ongoing pain relief.

  • Dosage: Do not take more than 6 combined ibuprofen and codeine tablets within 24 hours. It’s best to take the tablets with food or milk to reduce the risk of indigestion or stomach pain.
  • Common Side Effects:
    • Indigestion
    • Feeling sleepy
    • Constipation
  • Cautionary Notes:
    • Avoid alcohol while taking Nurofen Plus to prevent increased drowsiness.
    • If you’re allergic to ibuprofen, other NSAIDs, codeine, or any other medicine, consult your pharmacist or doctor.
    • Not suitable for children under 12 years old.
    • Long-term use can lead to codeine addiction.
  • Overdose Risks:
    • Taking too much Nurofen Plus can be dangerous.
    • Symptoms may include extreme sleepiness, difficulty breathing, changes in heart rate, and even unconsciousness.
    • Toxic doses of ibuprofen can cause liver damage, stomach ulcers, and an increased risk of heart attack.

Remember, always follow the recommended dosage and seek medical advice if you have concerns about pain relief or potential side effects.

A blue background with white text that reads Medicines A-Z: Ibuprofen and codeine (Nurofen Plus).

IMG Source: assets.nhs.uk

Nurofen Plus Addiction Signs and Symptoms

Nurofen Plus, a non-prescription painkiller, contains both codeine and ibuprofen. People can become physically and psychologically dependent on this over-the-counter drug, leading to a Nurofen Plus addiction. Here are the signs and symptoms associated with such an addiction:

  • Increased Dosage: Individuals may find that they need to take higher dosages of Nurofen Plus to achieve the desired effects or to prevent withdrawal symptoms.
  • Withdrawal Symptoms: Missing a dose or attempting to cut down on Nurofen Plus can lead to withdrawal symptoms, including irritability, anxiety, trouble sleeping, fatigue, runny eyes, sweating, and aching muscles.
  • Continued Use Despite Negative Effects: Even when Nurofen Plus negatively impacts their health, finances, relationships, and well-being, individuals may continue taking it.
  • Unnecessary Usage: Some may take Nurofen Plus after the original source of pain has ceased or even when there was no pain initially.
  • Seeking Out the Drug: People with an addiction may visit different shops, chemists, or buy tablets online to acquire Nurofen Plus.

    They might also steal the drug from stores or others.

  • Isolation and Concealment: Hiding Nurofen Plus packets and concealing their use from others can occur.
  • Risk of Misusing Other Codeine-Containing Drugs: Those addicted to Nurofen Plus may misuse other drugs containing codeine to alleviate withdrawal symptoms.

The dangerous effects of Nurofen Plus addiction include toxic doses of ibuprofen, which can lead to irreversible liver damage, stomach ulcers, bleeding, and an increased risk of heart attack. Overuse also carries the risk of overdose, which can result in respiratory failure and be fatal.

Additionally, during Nurofen Plus withdrawal due to codeine, common early symptoms include irritability, anxiety, trouble sleeping, fatigue, runny eyes, sweating, and aching muscles. Later in the withdrawal process, individuals may experience nausea, stomach cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, enlarged pupils, and chills.

Remember that seeking professional support is crucial for anyone struggling with Nurofen Plus addiction.

If you or someone you know needs help, consider reaching out to a healthcare provider or a rehab clinic.

A table showing how long codeine can be detected in the body after use, with urine, blood, saliva, and hair follicle tests.

IMG Source: nitrocdn.com

Steps to Take in Case of Nurofen Plus Overdose

If you suspect that you or someone else has taken too many Nurofen Plus tablets, it’s crucial to take immediate action. Here are the steps to follow:

  • Seek Help: Immediately telephone your doctor or Poisons Information Centre. In Australia, you can call 13 11 26 for advice.

    Alternatively, go to the Accident and Emergency department at your nearest hospital.

  • Stay with the Person: If you are with the person who has overdosed, stay with them. Ensure they are not alone.
  • Position: Lie the person on their side. This helps prevent choking and allows any vomit to drain out.
  • Communication: Talk to the person if they are conscious.

    Reassure them and keep them calm.

  • Loosen Clothing: If the person is wearing tight clothes, loosen them to improve comfort and circulation.
  • Ventilation: Open a window or take the person outside for fresh air.

Remember, an overdose of ibuprofen (the active ingredient in Nurofen Plus) can have serious consequences, including damage to the stomach or intestines. In rare cases, it can be fatal. Always take medications as directed and seek professional help promptly if you suspect an overdose.

A red and white box of Nurofen Plus tablets, a medication used to relieve pain.

IMG Source: imgix.net

In conclusion, the misuse or overdose of Nurofen Plus can have detrimental effects on your health, ranging from stomach and intestinal damage to fatal outcomes in extreme cases. Understanding the signs of an overdose and knowing how to respond promptly can be life-saving. If you suspect that you or someone else has taken too many Nurofen Plus tablets, seek immediate medical assistance.

Remember, always follow the recommended dosage guidelines and never exceed the specified limits to prevent potential harm. Stay informed, stay safe.


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